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SOS Rhino : In the News : Black rhino shot after attack

Black rhino shot after attack


05/08/2003 13:31 -
News 24 (SA)
Sharon Hammond

St Lucia - An endangered black rhino had to be shot dead on Tuesday when it attacked a group of tourists on a four-day trail in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi park in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

Jeff Gaisford, spokesperson for the provincial conservation agency Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, said two brothers were injured.

They were part of a group led by two armed rangers and were walking along a game path on open ground near the White Mfolozi River when the rhino attacked.

" A rhino that had been at the river appeared up a bank about 30m ahead of them and the rangers immediately took the group into the shelter of some scrub nearby," he said.

But the rhino left the trail and charged at the patch of scrub, ignoring shouts and warning shots fired by the rangers.

The animal knocked down Mark Crozier (34) and his brother Sean, as well a third trailist.

When a fourth person broke cover and the rhino charged him, one of the rangers fired a shot and killed the animal.

The injured were given first aid treatment and the rangers radioed for help. Mark Crozier, who sustained injuries to his chest, was taken to a medical facility, while his brother was treated by a doctor in Mtubatuba.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife staff went to the scene on Wednesday and found that the black rhino was a known bull, but was way out of his territory.

There were serious horn wounds around its scrotum indicating that it had been in a fight and had probably been displaced from its territory by a younger male.

" This would explain the animal's unusual and aggressive behaviour," said Gaisford.

" The decision to shoot the black rhino was a most difficult one as the species is endangered and is extremely valuable biologically," he aded.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildife CEO Mr Khulani Mkhize, said: "Although we are pleased and relieved that the Crozier brothers survived, we nevertheless regret the loss of a very valuable black rhino, but in cases like this where staff have a responsibility to protect the lives of people in their care, we have no alternative but to take strong action." he said. - African Eye News Service

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